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Get ready for Chalo Dilli

Lara Dutta’s first home production, Chalo Dilli, is inching towards its April 29 release. Director Shashant Shah on what makes the odd pairing of Vinay Pathak and Lara Dutta work.
Hindustan Times | By Roshmila Bhattacharya, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2011 05:41 PM IST
Lara Dutta’s first home production, Chalo Dilli, is inching towards its April 29 release. The film was wrapped up in a start-to-finish 33-day schedule, which included only a three-day break. There was a 26-day shoot in Delhi and Jaipur, and a week-long spell in Mumbai. Produced by Eros International, in association with Big Daddy Productions, which is owned by Dutta’s husband Mahesh Bhupathi’s Globosport, and her Bheegi Basanti Production, the movie pairs the former Miss Universe with funny man Vinay Pathak.

Director Shashant Shah reasons that the odd pairing works because both actors fit the parts. The script was written a year-and-a-half ago, when Shah was busy with Dasvidaniya (2008). The story of Chalo Dilli started out as a story of two men from different worlds. But Shah believed it would work better if one of the men metamorphosed into a la-di-dah woman who’s suddenly thrown into the company of this middle-class Delhi saree seller.

"Manu Gupta (Pathak) who is obnoxiously loud and introduces the ‘propah’ Mihita Banerjee (Dutta) to budget airlines, street food and other fun-filled adventures, is very Vinay," says Shah, who after putting his actor-friend and partner on a diet for Dasvidaniya, told him to gobble chocolates for this one.

When approached, Dutta loved the script and wanted to produce the film. "I knew she was perfect, when during a test shoot she wanted a painting on the wall straightened. That’s the kind of comment my heroine would make," Shah laughs, whose producers gave him plenty of creative leeway.

Chalo Dilli is a ‘journey’ film that showcases India, through the relationship of this mismatched couple and ends with a surprise twist. Says Shah, “The script was earlier titled Ab Dilli Door Nahin, but it was already registered by somebody else. So I suggested, Chalo Dilli.”

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